Police Arrest Baby Doe’s Alleged Killer
UPDATE, 9/18 - 5:05 p.m.: This story was updated to include charges for Michael McCarthy, who police have arrested for the murder of Bella Bond.
BOSTON — “Baby Doe” has a name: Bella. And now the police believe they have found her killer.
Police have identified the girl found dead inside a bag this summer on Deer Island as the daughter of Rachelle Bond of Boston. They believe she was 2-1/2 years old.
Now, police say they are charging Michael McCarthy, the boyfriend of Rachelle Bond, with murder, The Daily Beast has learned. Bond is being charged with accessory to murder after the fact. McCarthy and Bond will be arraigned on Monday at Dorchester Municipal Court.
“[McCarthy] did so intentionally, we believe by an act of violence in the very place that she should have felt safest—in her home,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Connolly.
McCarthy is being hospitalized for a medical condition unrelated to the case. He is not the father of Bella Bond, but Connolly says her father has been alerted of his daughter’s death.
Police apprehended Bond, 40, and McCarthy, 35, for questioning on Friday.
The three-month-long search to determine the identity of Baby Doe ended Thursday, when someone close to the child’s family reached out to police, law enforcement officials said.
Officials say the tipster had noticed the child was missing, but each time the person asked Bella’s parents what happened, they replied that she had been taken away by the Department of Children and Families.
Police confirm there is no child with Bella’s name in DCF custody.
Police say they were also able to match the identity of the child with the clothes she was wearing: black-and-white polka dot leggings and a zebra fleece blanket. The body had no fingerprints when she was discovered, due to erosion by water and the tides. Investigators could not determine a cause of death.
The child was first discovered on Deer Island on June 25. A woman walking her dog found the 30-pound girl and burst into tears before contacting the police.
Since then, detectives have been scrambling for answers. A computer-generated image of the girl generated an estimated 40 million views in two weeks. A tipline brought in more than 200 leads—all of them dead ends until this week.
Detectives traced pollen found on the girl’s clothes and hair and determined that she had, at least for a while, lived in the area near where her body was found. Soot mixed in with pollen led detectives to conclude she lived in an urban environment, according to The Boston Globe.
One of Rachelle Bond’s last listed address is the Kingston Houses of the Boston Rescue Mission, which provides “emergency shelter, transitional housing, [and] post-detox support.”
Press and police are gathered outside an apartment building on 115 Maxwell Street in Dorchester.
“It’s really shaken me,” said a neighbor who declined to give her name. The neighbor said she saw the girl regularly until three or four months ago. She figured the child had moved away.
Although she had seen the computer-generated image of Bella, and immediately noted its likeness, she said she “didn’t connect it.”
On Facebook, Rachelle Bond portrayed herself as a caring mother who doted on her daughter, until she stopped posting photos and videos with her after December 2014.
On August 18, 2014, Rachelle threw her a birthday party. The floor was strewn with balloons, while two filled with helium were tied to chairs. Gifts spilled onto the floor.
She got a Hello Kitty ice cream cake to boot.
“Come on, monkey,” Rachelle says in a video from the party. “Look what Mama did while you were sleeping.”
The last public photos of her and Bella are from Christmas 2014. “Mama and Bella...” the caption reads, accompanied by an emoji of a Christmas tree and Santa Claus. Another shows Bella holding a toy with a man in the background described by Rachelle as “hubby.”
Other photos show the duo cooking together. The comments portray a special bond. “Love her to death. I am on top of the world because of her,” Rachelle wrote. “My life is complete again and worth living. I give her the world and more if I can….”
—With additional reporting by Ben Collins and Justin Miller.